BJ Penn is possibly one of the biggest talents to ever grace the octagon. In the past his cardio, dedication, and drive have come into question. BJ has always been known to be brash, cocky, and often insulting to his opponents.
With Penn’s recent losses to Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre, his overall outlook on fighting has changed. BJ has worked on his cardio, strength, and conditioning, and his overall workout mentality.
As of late however, BJ has adopted a more care-free low pressure outlook on competition. He has gone on record saying that in the past he has put a lot of pressure on himself to perform and to make a devastating performance. Penn says that as long as he goes out and performs, he will be satisfied with that alone.
Is this a dangerous outlook to have as a champion? Many champions who do not continue to challenge themselves often find themselves on the losing end against a young and hungry challenger.
Penn’s opponent Frankie Edgar is best known for the relentless pace that he keeps in fights as well as his scrappy nature. A laid back attitude by the champion can sometimes translate to taking your opponent lightly. Penn has often found himself on the losing end of a fight when his mental game is not in check.
As a challenger Edgar should be overjoyed if he feels that his opponent is not taking him as seriously as he rightfully should. The mental drive and determination is often more important than his technical proficiency. As the old saying goes “talent alone can only get you so far.”
If Penn looks at his title defenses as “just business” he might soon find himself in a similar position that he was in after the GSP and Hughes fights. BJ’s new outlook may be the exact the opposite of what he is trying to accomplish against challengers. Every man in your weight class is gunning for you and your belt so staying sharp, driven and motivated is a key for success.
All will be revealed on April 10 at UFC 112 and we will see if BJ’s new championship mentality will be a factor in his fight. If Frankie Edgar comes with his top game he may have “the answer” to BJ’s seemingly unbeatable skills at Lightweight.